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Read Think Act Ep. 16: Dolen Perkins-Valdez on reproductive justice in reality and fiction


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"Here in the US the term 'reproductive justice' was coined by a group of Black feminists (...) it means much more than just terminating a pregnancy. It also refers to access to reproductive health care, it refers to the right to raise a child in a safe and healthy environment."

Dolen Perkins-Valdez

CW: brief mention of involunatry sterilisation

Welcome to the latest Read Think Act, part of our video series where writing and activism go hand in hand (or head to head) and we explore the space where they intersect, taking ideas from the pages and into our communities

In episode 16 we tune in with a splendid writer and deeply generous mind across the pond. Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of the novels 'Balm', 'Wench' and the new 'Take My Hand' answers three questions on writing about historical trauma and reproductive justice.

Inspired by the 1973 case of the Relf sisters, who were involuntarily sterilized by a federally funded family-planning clinic in Alabama, 'Take My Hand' tells the story of a Black nurse seeking justice for her patients.

Organisations and groups working for reproductive justice in the US mentioned by Dolen:

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

Physicians for Reproductive Health

New Voices for Reprodutive Justice

Social Workers for Reproductive Justice

Native American Womens Health Education Resource Center

New York Womens Forum

Here in Scotland, it's worth checking out:

Back Off Scotland - campaign for the Scottish Government to introduce 150 metre 'buffer zones' (protest-free areas) around clinics that provide abortion services across Scotland.

And further afield: Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights

You'll also find a few pointers in this blog Mairi wrote - Back Off Scotland: Our Bodies, our Choices

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